Articles Tagged with: Engineering

Elevating Engineering

Angela Fante, PE, LEED AP provides an in-depth look into the engineering achievements of the University of Rhode Island Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering in the January 2022 edition of Modern Steel Construction.

Excerpted from Modern Steel Construction:

Engineering is rooted in practicality and principles, but its promise is transformational and inspiring.

This was the mindset of University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering Dean Raymond Wright when it came to the school’s new Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering. The project represents Wright’s ambitious mission to create a “transformational building that fosters a vibrant and innovative environment by attracting the best faculty, students, and industry partners.”

Constructed on the former site of five demolished engineering buildings on the university’s main South Kingstown campus, the new engineering building serves as a “bridge” between the liberal arts programs at campus south and the basic sciences at campus north.

Read the full article

Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering Awarded LEED Silver

The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering and Bliss Hall at the University of Rhode Island were certified LEED Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Ballinger-planned, designed, and engineered buildings house the University’s College of Engineering.

Reporter Mary Serreze from the Providence Business Journal spoke with Paul DePace, URI’s director of capital projects, to discuss the buildings’ recently obtained LEED Silver status.

Excerpted from Providence Business Journal

The University of Rhode Island is touting its sustainability practices with an announcement that its new College of Engineering buildings have obtained LEED Silver status.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and LEED certification provides independent verification from the U.S. Green Building Council that a building meets a set of rigorous “green” standards.

The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, which opened in the fall of 2019, and Bliss Hall, a historic structure that was newly renovated, are now the 14th and 15th buildings to obtain LEED status on the Kingston Campus. That includes five buildings that are certified LEED Gold, the highest possible rating.

“Importantly, LEED certification translates into higher energy efficiency rates and big energy savings for the University and the state,” said Paul DePace, URI’s director of capital projects. In a statement, he added that sustainable buildings and spaces “also make the University a nicer place to be for all of us.”

Providence-based Dimeo Construction Co. and Philadelphia-based Ballinger architects teamed up for the two building projects, and Hill International served as project manager.

The Fascitelli Center was the largest construction project in the University’s history. The six-story, 183,500 square-foot building features a glass exterior, allowing natural light into core spaces. An efficient electrical system includes sensors that control lighting, the university said in a news release.

The roof was specified with white material to prevent any “heat island” effect. Landscaping plants were chosen to require very little water. The proximity of both buildings to bus and shuttle routes “was also significant in the sustainability calculation of the projects,” the university said.

The 38,000 square-foot Bliss Hall was gutted to the steel frame and stone exterior and completely renovated. A 15,000 square-foot addition was built on the north side with energy-efficient mechanicals. Builders used low-emitting materials and designed the ventilation system to introduce plenty of fresh air. Many other features used the latest in green building technology.

“Rhode Island has set a goal that state-funded projects should meet LEED Certification status,” said Jim Devol, project manager for Hill International. “With these two buildings URI has gone beyond that.”

Ballinger Continues Support of Future City

Ballinger was a sponsor of the annual Philadelphia Region Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process as a framework, students design a city and describe it through an essay, a scale model, and a video. This year’s theme was Living on the Moon.  

Central Jersey College Prep received the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award” for Starling City, a lunar community with a greenhouse, electric power plant and a transportation system powered by friction collected from rubberized polymer.

Ballinger has been an annual sponsor of the competition since 2017, with the goal of enhancing interest in engineering and building the pipeline of diverse practitioners. 

Ballinger’s Mike Radio Named Virtual Environment Global User of the Year

Ballinger Associate Principal Michael Radio, PE, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP BD+C was named 2020 Virtual Environment (VE) Global User of the Year. Launched this year by Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), the competition recognizes innovative use of VE technology.

In his role as Ballinger’s lead energy analyst Mike has employed the IES VE suite to elevate the quality, speed and precision of energy and system load modeling for healthcare and academic clients throughout the country. He uses it to rapidly generate comprehensive scenario and architectural design variation analyses beginning at the earliest stages of planning. He integrates that data with analyses of multiple site infrastructure/central plant options, giving owners the most comprehensive set of data possible upon which to make key capital spending decisions. 

IES Vice President Liam Buckley praised “the analytical range of Mike’s submission. From simple curtainwall assessments, to sizing chilled beams and onto integrating on-site cogeneration with central plants, all coupled with the IESVE VistaPro graphics, demonstrated the highest level of performance modeling excellence. A well-deserved winner.”

As global winner, Mike received a $1,000 prize which he’s donating to the ASHRAE Philadelphia Debra H. Kennoy Scholarship Fund, a fund he helped establish, intended to encourage female college students to pursue studies in engineering.  

Read more about the award

Fabulous Fascitelli Engineering Center at URI

Architecture critic William Morgan reviewed the University of Rhode Island’s Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, designed and engineered by Ballinger.

Excerpted from GoLocalProv:

The University of Rhode Island’s Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering handsomely demonstrates that bold new architecture is not just the purview of Ivy League schools and their private brethren like RISD and MIT.

Colleges and universities can be the places to view the latest work of starchitects. Institutions like Yale, Princeton, and MIT have become architectural petting zoos, with strutting displays of egotecture.

State schools are often less likely to be laboratories of avant-garde architecture. Yet public universities–the Michigans, Ohio States, Californias–are also commissioning notable design.

New England may be the incubator of higher education in this country, but architecturally our state universities have lagged somewhat behind. The $125,000 million Fascitelli Center demonstrates that that is changing.

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for example, New England’s only public architecture school moved into the first academic building in the United States made of cross-laminated-timber, designed by Leers Weinzapfel, while the business school just opened an innovation hub by Bjarke Ingels Group, one of the world’s most daring firms.

URI’s engineering program, once scattered across the campus in a various structures is now housed in one striking 190,000 square feet steel and glass structure that has become the center of gravity for the Kingston school.

The L-shaped, five-story engineering building is in marked contrast to the rest of the campus. Except for the attractive Westerly granite structures in classic post-Civil-War-state-college style surrounding the common, URI’s design identity has been undistinguished.

In part because of a new master plan by Ballinger, architects of the engineering building, works like the Wellness & Fitness Center, an imaginative remake by Kite Architects of a 1965 dining hall, are beginning to offset less inspiring projects such as the URI Foundation’s home, which looks like a bloated McMansion, one with rams horns capitals.

But the missteps of the past fade when one enters the sparkling, light-collecting Fascatelli Center. Its strong, clean lines and pristine glass and metal surfaces are the perfect metaphor for a research center that explores the physical aspects of our world from civic and environmental engineering to Nano-technology and cyber-security.

As Terry Steelman, senior principal at Ballinger and project designer, says, Fascitelli “propagates the notion of engineering as a bridge between liberal arts and the sciences.” A 210-foot-long truss that spans the ground floor reinforces the bridge theme.

Beneath that span is a transparent rectangle sheltering a student gathering space with a cafe. Because of the trussing system, this large open social center supports nothing above it, so one can see right through this open space to the other side.

Visible diagonal trusses show through the glass walls. This bracing system allows classrooms and research laboratories to be unencumbered with vertical columns.

Hallways along the exterior perimeters of the white-painted trusses provide the school’s most endearing feature: a hawk’s-eye view the campus and the South County countryside.

Philadelphia-based Ballinger has a reputation as designers of technically complex science buildings, and have worked at Penn, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and many other schools. There are no frills here, no gimmicks, just a focus on good design delivering the best educational engineering facilities.

Brown missed such an opportunity for a bold glazed design when Ballinger’s original proposal for the Sidney Frank Hall for Life Sciences was unfortunately clad in brick to appease College Hill neighbors more interested in a false notion of context than encouraging exceptional design.

At URI, however, the emphasis on natural light transforms what might have been just another science building. Architect Steelman is particularly proud of the glazing that wraps the fifth floor. This unitized curtain wall has an acid-etched first surface and a white fret as the second surface. Light filtered through this scrim is ever changing.

If we imagine the Fascitelli Center as a brilliant gesture at re-branding the university, it tells us loud and clear that URI is a place that will lead to, in the words of President David Dooley, “discoveries that we cannot even imagine today.”

GoLocal architecture critic Will Morgan has written extensively about university design and is the author of Collegiate Gothic: The Architecture of Rhodes College.

Engineering for a New World

The University of Rhode Island Magazine covered the opening of the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, designed and engineered by Ballinger.

Fall 2019 Magazine Cover

Excerpted from the University of Rhode Island Magazine:

The largest construction project in University history, The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering opened its doors this fall, bringing all the engineering disciplines together in a space that actively supports hands-on, interdisciplinary research and defies departmental silos. The center features state-of-the-art research labs, student-oriented open space, and bold, modern design–transparent, airy, and centered around common work areas.

By Janine Liberty

From the smartphone to the Large Hadron Collider to France’s Millau Viaduct, some of the world’s greatest engineering marvels have been created in the last 20 years. Rapid advances in technology and material sciences have changed not just what’s possible in engineering, but what’s imaginable. Engineers are at the center of an era defined by unprecedented technological capabilities, and their creative and practical achievements are shaping the world in entirely new ways.

Collective Purpose

Just before classes began this fall, a group of engineering professors gathered in The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering. Representing the full engineering faculty, this group comprises 22 of the college’s 74 faculty members, whose research and teaching will be shaped by the open space, transparent walls, and bridge-like architecture of the new facility.

Engineers are unique. Equal parts creative visionaries and doers, they are able to imagine technologies that will advance human potential, and construct the framework that will transform their ideas into reality. These engineers are also teachers, mentors, and guides—showing the next generation, who will be faced with some of the biggest problems the world has ever known, how to engineer solutions.

A New Space for a New Era of Research

URI’s College of Engineering is positioned to push the rapidly expanding boundaries of science and technology, and its new home, The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, is designed for this new era. With the opening of The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering this fall,” says College of Engineering Dean Raymond M. Wright, “students can be educated differently, and researchers can collaborate more easily across disciplines.”

“This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today.”
–URI President David M. Dooley

“Increasingly, our engineering students and faculty are not only working in interdisciplinary teams within the college, but with students and faculty from across the University in oceanography, health, pharmacy, chemistry, computer science, and business as well as companies and corporations around the state, region, and the world,” URI President David M. Dooley says.

During preliminary meetings with the project’s principal architect, Terry Steelman, of the firm Ballinger of Philadelphia, Wright explained that he wanted to bring faculty together through research areas, not departments or disciplines. “One thing we know for sure is when we bring people together to solve challenges, it gets done,” says Wright.

The college will be organized around critical interdisciplinary research themes that address some of the biggest challenges the world faces: alternative energy, nanotechnology, robotics, cybersecurity, water for the world, biomedical technology, advanced materials and structures, and sensors and instrumentation.

The Fascitelli Center will support and encourage this interdisciplinary research by physically locating faculty from different disciplines near one another and adjacent to common research and meeting spaces. “Almost nothing in engineering anymore exists solely within a single discipline,” says Steelman. “This building is designed not just to advocate for, but to stimulate interdisciplinary discovery, so students can be educated differently, and researchers can collaborate across disciplines.”

“When the engineering disciplines combine, the sum is greater than its parts. URI engineering is building the future.”
–Dean Raymond M. Wright

“Our faculty are designing and building the infrastructure modern society relies on; finding innovative ways to harness energy from our sun, ocean, and even highways; building new medical diagnostic methods and devices; and racing to ensure every man, woman, and child has access to clean, safe water,” says Wright.

“This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today,” Dooley adds.

The new building was funded by two Rhode Island voter-approved bond issues, as well as private gift commitments from corporations including Toray Plastics (America), Inc.; FM Global; Taco; Hexagon; and Shimadzu; and from individual donors, including a $10 million gift from College of Engineering alumnus Michael D. Fascitelli ‘78, Hon. ‘08, and his wife, Elizabeth Fascitelli.

Learning Through Hands-On Research and Fieldwork

Working in robotics is like the Wild West in terms of the opportunities it presents,” says engineering student Robin Hall ‘20. “It’s always innovative, always changing, and there is always something new to work on.” Hall sits in the Intelligent Control and Robotics Lab surrounded by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robots, spare wires, and computers.

Situated on the fourth floor of the new engineering building, the robotics lab opens up to an expanse of glass that encloses the exterior hallway. From inside, you can look out over the northern edge of the Kingston Campus to the woodlands beyond. Hawks soar above the distant treetops, in effortless flight, while research teams inside devise robotic systems capable of agile, aerial movement.

“Working in robotics is like the Wild West in terms of the opportunities it presents.”
–Robin Hall ’20

This year, Hall has an independent research grant to develop a wall-traversing drone. “My idea employs a four-propeller UAV surrounded by an external cage that can rotate independently from the internal body of the robot. The cage will protect the vehicle and maintain stability.” Working with existing drone and cage designs, Hall’s innovation is to fix two axes and add a motor to the third axis to control the movement. “The quadcopter will behave like a wheel, rolling laterally against a wall surface.”

He’ll work with Paolo Stegagno, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering, as his grant adviser. “As he designs and tests his UAV, Robin will gain advanced knowledge of control systems,” says Stegagno.

More research involvement–such as Hall’s–at the undergraduate level is important to the college; it means higher-quality senior projects, better internships, and more opportunities for students at all levels to learn from one another. Senior capstone projects are team-oriented and industry-driven, focusing on real-world challenges companies bring in for senior-year students to work on over the course of the academic year.

Making the capstone projects highly visible is meant not only to benefit students, but to attract industry. The projects are already an important point of entry for industry partners, having reliably translated to employment for graduates as well as research and economic partnerships with the University.

College of Engineering alumnus W. Lewis Collier, M.S. ‘86, Ph.D. ‘14, rapid engineering and prototype systems engineering manager for the MIL Corporation, and former technical director at Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation, supervised URI engineering students doing capstone projects at SRI International. He says URI’s capstone program “offers a valuable opportunity for students to apply and hone their engineering skills and learn about real-world problems and how engineers operate in the field.” Adds Collier, the program “is also important to the University’s mission to provide educated workers for Rhode Island businesses.”

A New Space for a New Era of Research

Great design is achieved through a balance of opposites. This 190,000-square-foot, five-story engineering building is a tour de force of design.

During the day, light streams throughout the enormous expanses of open space, constantly shifting in color, shadow, and intensity as it passes through surfaces of varying opacity. This effect is balanced by the density and stability of the building’s metal truss support system–which eliminates the need for interior support columns and allows for uninterrupted, open interiors–and sleek concrete floors.

“The glass of the building is both a metaphor and a physical manifestation of transparency and collaboration.”
—Dean Raymond M. Wright

The trusses, which span more than 150 feet of open space inside and are visible from the exterior of the building, are like those used for bridges, giving the building a bridge-like appearance, which emphasizes its physical siting between the older, humanities-focused buildings in the center of the Kingston Campus and the newer, science and technology-focused buildings on the north edge of campus.

In the new building, capstones will be a significant and highly visible part of the activity. More importantly, points out Wright, students from different research themes will be working in the same space. “You’ll have civil engineering and mechanical and biomedical capstone projects happening side by side.” In the building’s design, the Ballinger team combined the majority of the teaching environments on the first floors, so that students will be exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of the building.

“The quad level is a remarkable place,” says Wright. “We want our students to recognize that it’s their home. There are no faculty offices or research offices on that floor. It’s all about showcasing the hands-on aspects of engineering and building a creative atmosphere for students.”

Great architecture must also balance the experience of the individual with a collective purpose. Fascitelli credits Wright’s vision of bringing the college’s departments together as the driving force behind the building design. “Science as a whole has become so much more interactive, and the world is changing at such a rapid pace,” says Fascitelli. “You really need that cooperation between disciplines.”

Says Wright, “The glass of the building is both a metaphor and a physical manifestation of transparency and collaboration.”

“There’s nothing like this building in our portfolio. It’s unique to URI and I’m really proud of that,” says Steelman, adding that the center is “one of the most provocative and technologically advanced engineering buildings in the country.”

Hall is inspired by the new engineering space. “Being able to work in this space is an amazing upgrade,” he says. “It’s like a temple. It feels like you have the opportunity to do anything here.”

Celebrating Engineers Week

February 16-22 is Engineers Week, a celebration aimed at engaging students in engineering. As one of the first firms in the country to merge the disciplines of architecture and engineering into a professional practice, we take pride in creating inspiring environments for engineering learning and discovery.

In honor of Engineers Week, we’re profiling the recently completed A. James Clark Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park. Conceived to foster broad interdisciplinary convergence in a dynamic hub for innovation, it brings together students from various engineering and technology disciplines with a common interest in enhancing lives through medical advancement. A Student Innovation Lab serves as the building’s “working commons,” a highly-flexible team-based makerspace for both small and large projects.

An adjacent forum with operable walls hosts classes and serves as a campus-wide events venue.

13025_00_N164_high

Exposed systems throughout the building provide didactic opportunities for the School of Engineering. These functional systems are compositionally orchestrated to be central to the architectural experience.

13025_00_N122_high

“Clark Hall embodies the future of multidisciplinary engineering with human impact,” Darryll J. Pines, dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the next University of Maryland president, said at Clark Hall’s ribbon-cutting. “These state-of-the-art facilities will create the next generation of engineers who will advance human health worldwide, transforming millions of lives.”

13025_00_N182_high

Ballinger Supports Future Innovators in STEM

Ballinger was a sponsor of the annual Philadelphia Region Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Using the engineering design process as a framework, students develop a virtual city with SimCity, write an essay, build a scale model, and deliver a presentation. This year’s theme, which students had to incorporate into their cities, was providing a reliable water source for all citizens.

Part of a national initiative to engage students in STEM, the Philadelphia program culminates in a live event judged by professional engineers. Numerous volunteers gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the competition on January 18, including a group from Ballinger. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their cities to judges.

East Norriton Middle School was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event. Their creative methods of sourcing water through desalination and fog capture, sustainable modes of transit via magnet trains, and care for their citizens’ health through music therapy won the award. The innovative and environmentally-friendly design of the team’s city connected to the firm-sponsored award’s goal of “hope for the future”.

Bryn Mawr Project Honored for Construction Excellence

Bryn Mawr Hospital’s new patient pavilion was presented with the General Builder Contractors Association (GBCA) Construction Excellence Award in the healthcare category last evening at the 22nd annual Construction Excellence Awards (CEA).

Ballinger provided MEP engineering services for the project, which was created in response to the Mainline Health System’s need for a market-competitive, contemporary healthcare facility committed to serving its community. Delivering on this need, the facility includes improvements such as private rooms, two medical/surgical telemetry units, an intensive care unit, a high-tech surgical suite, and maternity, labor and delivery, and NICU units. LEED Silver certification, a green roof, an advanced emergency power system, and techniques to reduce long-term ownership costs showcase this project as both resilient and sustainable. Ballinger’s innovative contributions include a reimagined HVAC system that not only satisfies expectations and important healthcare guidelines, but does so while prioritizing sustainability.

Winners were honored at an awards ceremony in Center City Philadelphia on November 21.

Ballinger Project ILSB Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting

Recent Ballinger project, the new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), will host a Grand Opening Celebration and Ribbon Cutting this Saturday, October 12, 11:00 am – 3:00pm. The program will feature remarks from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Miller Jr., and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. The celebration will include building tours, hands-on life science activities, active learning demonstrations, and GRIT-X: a series of short talks presented by UMBC staff highlighting the importance of diversity in research. Additionally, Volkan Alkanoglu, the artist who created the building’s striking art installation “INFLIGHT,” will be present for questions.

The new 131,000 SF ILSB includes wet bench life science research space, shared scientific research core spaces, new multidisciplinary science teaching labs and active learning classrooms. Office spaces for faculty and research assistants are also included to support the research mission of the building. UMBC is a pioneer in teaching non-major foundation labs in an active learning classroom setting and report improved student outcomes due to team learning requirements that increase attendance and promote peer to peer learning. The four 90-person classrooms included in ILSB expand this teaching style on campus and help promote its success.

“UMBC requested a transparent building that put science on display. The interesting challenge was to create a place that would foster strong sense of community for the researchers, while opening the building to the broader campus community that use the classrooms, teaching labs and shared study spaces. The Commons unify these two user groups into one flowing connected space while maintaining layers of security and privacy.” – Steve Bartlett, Lead Designer

Link to event details

Commerce Secretary on Fascitelli Center: “We Will Power the Economy”

The Providence Journal covered the ribbon cutting ceremony for Ballinger’s Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. During the event, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor described the importance of engineering in the state, “Rhode Island is a place that engineers and builds things. We have throughout our history, but it’s part of our future as well. It’s a central part of our future. We are thrilled that there’s an engineering school that is of such an outstanding standard. Through this school we will create pipelines of talent that will serve our corporations. We will create great opportunities for our emerging young professional engineers, and we will power the economy.”

Link to article

Grand View Health Announces Expansion Plans

Grand View Health recently announced plans for a new 170,000 SF hospital expansion, one of several components of a 5-year, $210,000,000 investment in providing improved access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.

Planned, designed and engineered by Ballinger, the 5-floor hospital expansion will be constructed adjacent to Grand View’s existing hospital in Sellersville, PA. The design prioritizes wellness for patients, family and staff while integrating state-of-the-art technology and enhanced community connections. The design features a new main entrance and light-filled public space, aimed at improving the patient experience while maintaining the culture and values Grand View Health has upheld since its founding in 1913. The expansion will include an integrated procedural platform with operating and interventional rooms, as well as private inpatient rooms, which will enable Grand View Health to offer all private rooms campus-wide.

Currently in schematic design, the project is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Groundbreaking Celebrated on New Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Hospital

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) held a groundbreaking celebration today for a new inpatient hospital in King of Prussia, PA. Ballinger provided architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, and structural engineering services for the 250,000 SF facility, which will significantly expand the services and offerings of CHOP’s current King of Prussia campus. During her remarks, CHOP President and CEO, Madeline Bell, described how the new location will provide convenient access to the highest quality hospital services available.

This new 6-story, 52-room inpatient facility will be the first standalone hospital in the CHOP network not located on the main Philadelphia campus. The facility was specifically designed to offer modern innovation while creating a family-friendly environment. Design features such as open and bright waiting areas, playrooms, ample parking, sun-filled spaces, child life services, and a concierge-like welcome experience bring this intent to life.

Link to groundbreaking photos

Ballinger engineers recognized by ASHRAE

Ballinger engineers were recognized for their commitment to ASHRAE’s mission at the ASHRAE Region III Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. Ballinger senior associate and 2018-2019 ASHRAE Philadelphia Chapter President, Michael Radio, PE, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP BD+C, received the Presidential Award of Excellence. It is awarded for significant improvement in membership, attendance, research promotion, education, chapter programs and technology. Ballinger mechanical engineer Anthony Scaccia, PE won the “Majority Whip” Award for his work as the Grassroots Government Affairs Chair. As Chair, Anthony established and maintained relationships with state, local, and municipal officials with responsibilities related to energy policy.

The Philadelphia Chapter, led by Chapter President Michael Radio and Sustainability Committee Chair Anthony Scaccia, received the Region III Sustainability Award.  This award is given to the chapter most effective during the 2018-2019 period in supporting ASHRAE’s mission to promote a sustainable world.

With more than 57,000 members from over 130 countries, ASHRAE is the leading industry organization representing building system design. Region III includes Philadelphia, Central Pennsylvania, Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Hampton Roads, Richmond, Lehigh Valley, Roanoke and Anthracite chapters. The Chapters’ Regional Conference was held in Norfolk, Virginia August 15-17.

Ballinger engineer brings fresh ideas to professional industry group

Ballinger senior associate Michael Radio, PE, CEM, BEMP, LEED AP served as president of the ASHRAE Philadelphia Chapter for the 2018-2019 term. As president, he increased meeting attendance by 75% by introducing new programming, and varying monthly meeting times and locations. Citing ASHRAE members’ focus on work-life balance, he introduced lunchtime instead of dinnertime meetings. Meeting topics centered around big-picture technology innovations and data usage trends that are revolutionizing the field and he invited a variety of professionals to present, including Dr. Stephanie Taylor, a former physician scientist who consults on safety in healthcare environments, and Gary Fechter, General Manager at UGI Performance Solutions.

Reflecting on the end of his term as president, Mike described his family’s reaction when he told them he would pursue MEP engineering. “When I graduated from Drexel University and decided to enter the MEP consulting field, my mom looked outside at the air conditioning unit and said, ‘That’s what you’re going to be doing for a living?’  I laughed, and explained that the HVAC field is so much more than that. I’m proud that my work as president of the ASHRAE Philadelphia chapter has advanced understanding of our field.”

ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. Members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Several Ballinger staff members serve on the board of governors and ASHRAE Philadelphia committees.

Swarthmore’s Singer Hall Named in Honor of Scientist Alumna

Swarthmore College’s new biology, engineering and psychology building, currently under construction, will be named Maxine Frank Singer ’52 Hall, becoming one of the first science buildings named for a woman on an American college campus.

Swarthmore CollegeAfter graduating from Swarthmore in 1952, Maxine Frank Singer earned a PhD in biochemistry from Yale University and went on to make significant scientific breakthroughs, including helping to decipher the human genetic code. In addition to conducting research and serving as a science administrator, she helped formulate the National Institutes of Health’s guidelines about how research in genetic engineering should be carried out.

The naming in Singer’s honor was proposed by the family of Eugene Lang, who donated $50 million to the building project.

Ballinger led the planning, design and engineering for the 160,000 SF interdisciplinary hub, which will promote synergies between engineering and other academic disciplines. The building will include classrooms, laboratories, office space, and indoor and outdoor commons.

Link to details: Swarthmore College Maxine Frank Singer ’52 Hall

Bryn Mawr Hospital Celebrates Opening of New Patient Pavilion

Bryn Mawr Hospital, part of Main Line Health, celebrated the opening of a new 256,400 SF eight-floor patient pavilion. Ballinger provided MEP and fire protection engineering services for the transformative modernization. The engineering team was tasked with prioritizing patient safety in the event of an emergency, while also reducing energy use.

The new power system for the campus has 100% emergency backup via onsite generators. This enables the hospital to operate in “island mode,” meaning hospital operations can continue without service interruption, even in the event that the hospital is isolated from the local electricity distribution network.

The pavilion is designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, as outlined by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The new operating room (OR) platform employs a Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) with active desiccant dehumidification and individual air handlers for each OR space.  This system allows each OR to be individually set to a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees and maintain humidity between 30% RH and 50% RH without using reheat energy. Individual temperature and humidity controls increase staff and patient comfort and contribute to reducing energy costs. Ballinger also designed an upgraded 5,200 ton chiller plant and a high-rise fire sprinkler system that includes pioneering technology to avoid requiring pressure-reducing valves throughout the system, saving long term ownership costs. Other sustainable features include LED lighting controls and green roofs.

Ballinger Senior Principals Craig Spangler and Terry Steelman Present at Tradeline

The “Engineer of the Future” must be creative, entrepreneurial, and adaptable. Engineering is increasingly focused on application of scientific discoveries to solve real-world issues, a dynamic that requires a “next generation” of engineering facilities capable of supporting these interdisciplinary convergent trends.

Ballinger Senior Principals Craig S. Spangler, AIA and Terry D. Steelman, FAIA explored this topic at the 2017 Tradeline Conference on College and University Science and Engineering Facilities. Their talk, titled “Next Generation Engineering Facilities: Features That Support a New Skill Set for the ‘Engineer of the Future,’” described how new models for teaching and research facilities can support future engineers.

The presentation featured case studies of Ballinger’s work on the campuses of the University of Rhode Island, George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

Ballinger Presents at Tradeline Space Strategies 2017

Ballinger’s Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP and Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP, along with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Senior Vice President Doug E. Carney, AIA, LEED AP, gave a presentation at the 2017 Tradeline Conference on Space Strategies. Their talk “A Workplace Innovation Process to Harness the How, When, What and Why of Your Organization’s Working Style,” explored how Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) approached the launch of a more progressive work environment.

Ballinger Presents at 2017 International Institute for Sustainable Labs Conference

Ballinger Principals Craig S. Spangler, AIA and Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP presented at this year’s International Institute for Sustainable Labs Conference in Boston, MA. The I2SL annual conference is a technical forum focused on strategies to meet the challenges of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in laboratories and related facilities.

Their presentation, “Share the Air: Cascading Air Strategies Using Neutral Temperature Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems” explores how cascading air strategies can be applied to the design of complex buildings to optimize energy savings from first costs to continued maintenance.

Illustrated with examples from Ballinger’s portfolio, the presentation highlighted successful design and engineering strategies to minimize energy use and reduce costs through the use of neutral temperature dedicated outdoor air systems.

 

Link to slides

HUP: Q&A with Russ Neithammer

Ballinger’s electrical engineers are celebrating the completion of a long-term project to replace the 15 kV medium-voltage power switchgear in Penn Medicine’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP).

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine was the nation’s first medical school and remains a renowned center of research and clinical excellence. HUP is the oldest university-owned teaching hospital in the country and sees over 72,000 patients per year. Ballinger has worked with them over the last ten years on the planning and implementation of several major electrical power projects, with the end goal of replacing the 15 kV medium voltage main service entrance switchgear for this prestigious institution.  Chief Electrical Engineer, Russ Neithammer explained Ballinger’s approach to this monumental project.

What was this project all about?

RUSS NEITHAMMER: The overall goal was to upgrade the over 70-year-old 15 kV medium voltage utility service entrance switchgear, leading to an improvement in overall reliability, simplified maintenance, and a reduction in exposure to catastrophic failure. We started with a feasibility study in which we identified a number of approaches to replacing the switchgear and to upgrading lighting, HVAC, fire sprinkler protection, and egress provisions in the hospital’s main electrical equipment vault to meet current code requirements and to be consistent with other University electrical service facilities.

What sort of options did you consider?

RN: Each approach had its pros, cons, and risks.   For switchgear replacement, we considered many options. For example, we looked at a vacuum circuit breaker retrofit into existing switchgear cubicles, installing the new switchgear in the existing location, and installing it in an adjacent transformer vault location.

How did you decide which approach to take?

RN: It was essential that there be no disruptions to hospital operations in the process of replacing the service entrance switchgear.  This meant that we had to have a design that minimized the time required for any single outage as we changed over from the old switchgear to the new, while also allowing for the option of temporarily backing out to existing conditions if we encountered problems during any of the outage work.  Continuity of operations and constructability were the key drivers that informed all major design decisions.

That sounds complex. What methods did you use to make that possible?

RN: We designed the switchgear installation with constructability in mind right from the start.  The design option that resulted in the least amount of risk to hospital operations was the one that allowed for installation and energization of the new switchgear in the adjacent transformer vault before removal of the old.  This allowed us to move loads from the existing to the new switchgear via separate, sequential outages for each of the feeders.

The initial challenge was that before we could address replacement of the main switchgear, the active 2400V transformers in the transformer vault had to be removed from service.   This meant that the entire existing 2400V distribution system (a holdover from the early 1900’s) had to be eliminated.  We accomplished that by executing two predecessor enabling projects.  First, we replaced the 2400V switchgear and transformation (to 480V) in the Dulles building portion of the HUP complex.  Our second enabling project involved the construction of a new building that houses transformation (to 480V) and distribution to the three oldest buildings of the HUP complex.  As with the replacement of the main substation, each of the enabling projects had its own constructability issues, which were addressed in a similar manner to the main substation project, i.e., install and energize the new equipment before removing the existing equipment.  Completing the enabling projects eliminated all loads on the existing 2400V transformers, thus allowing them to be removed from the transformer vault and freeing up the space we needed to completely install and energize the new switchgear and move the feeders.

With an empty transformer vault, construction work leading to installation and energization could go forward, requiring only two short utility outages to tie in and energize the new switchgear and make it ready to accept load as the feeder moves were executed.

What takeaways do you have after 10 years on this project?

RN: Overall, communication throughout the process was the key to executing the project with minimal disruption to hospital operations. The design and construction staff, operations staff, clinical staff, construction manager, design assist electrical contractor, design engineer, and PECO (the electrical utility serving HUP) were all involved throughout the entire process. Likewise, although this project had a heavy electrical focus, architecture and all of Ballinger’s engineering disciplines played significant roles.

Approaching the project with this level of communication meant that the design constructability was understood by all parties.   This understanding led to detailed outage planning for the best possible coordination with hospital operations. The result was a process with minimal design changes or surprises and a project executed on-time and well within budget.

Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Teaching Labs Achieves LEED Platinum

We are pleased to announce that Johns Hopkins University’s Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory (UTL) was recently awarded LEED Platinum by the United States Green Building Council (USCBC). Platinum is USGBC’s highest level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which serves as the foremost standard in sustainable building and design.

Ballinger provided architecture, programming, planning, and engineering services in the development of this light-filled learning and research facility that supports Johns Hopkins University’s biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and biophysics departments. The design addressed a 2009 JHU President’s Task Force on Climate Change Report, which called for an aggressive 51% reduction in carbon emissions.

A multitude of sustainability features were woven into the building’s framework. Ballinger’s design placed emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainable site development, and interior environmental quality. The facility is designed to use 50% less energy than similar lab buildings, by employing decoupled neutral air systems, chilled beams, occupancy sensors, high-performance fume hoods, and dual energy wheels that recover heat and moisture from exhaust air.  As a result, the project has been recognized with sustainability awards as well as design awards.

As an integrated architecture and engineering firm, Ballinger is proud to be recognized as a leader in sustainable design. This month, Ballinger Associate Principal Brad Crowley will accept a 1st place Technology Award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers at the Annual ASHRAE Winter Conference for the advanced energy-efficient solutions utilized in this building.

Ballinger Presents Advanced HVAC Technologies to ASHRAE Members

Associate Principal Bradford Crowley, PE, LEED AP was invited to present at the ASHRAE Philadelphia chapter meeting held yesterday. He described Ballinger’s application of advanced HVAC technologies at the recently completed Undergraduate Teachings Labs at Johns Hopkins University. He discussed conceptual and concrete aspects of the project, providing context on the multitude of sustainability features woven into the building’s framework.

ASHRAE is an engineering trade association with the mission of advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

Ballinger Presents Post-Occupancy Data at Tradeline

Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP and Associate Principal Stephen M. Bartlett, AIA, LEED AP presented a talk at Tradeline Research Facilities 2015 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The session, titled “Post-Occupancy: Lab Functionality, Flexibility, Energy,” reviewed post-occupancy findings from three high profile science facilities at Johns Hopkins University, the Wistar Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh.

They presented data on modeled-vs-actual building performance, real-world use of interchangeable features, amenities for collaboration and interaction, and operating details. The presenters explained how end-user feedback can inform decisions on next-generation research facilities to maximize return on investment.

Link to Presentation

Repurposing Existing Facilities for Modern Science

At the 2012 Tradeline College and University Science Facilities Conference, Principals Craig Spangler, AIA, Jeff French, FAIA, and Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP explored the challenges associated with making the judgment to invest in an existing facility struggling to retain its functionality.  It is easy to wipe the slate clean and start with a blank piece of paper.  Each Principal approached this from the opposite perspective, working on the fundamental premise that extending the life of a building is the ideal outcome, even if modest additions are key to unlocking success.

Link to Presentation

Ballinger Senior Principals Present Successful Models for Co-Locating Science + Engineering Programs

At Tradeline’s 23rd Annual College and University Science Facilities Conference, Senior Principals Bill Gustafson, FAIA, Craig S. Spangler, AIA, and Jeffrey French, FAIA presented recent trends in science and engineering facilities. They reviewed a series of recent projects that reflect three planning trends: the research / teaching neighborhood, the emphasis on collaborative spaces, and the disappearance of boundaries both physical and psychological. The underlying principles that drive these trends are measurable: higher utilization of space, higher research productivity, and greater emphasis on shared resources, both space and equipment. Ballinger provided university leaders with measurable benchmarks for these complex phenomena.

Tradeline is an industry resource that presents high level conferences focused on the latest planning, design, operations and financial thinking for the built environment. This year’s College and University Science Facilities conference was held in Scottsdale, AZ.

Link to Presentation